Olena Alec, Executive Director
As Executive Director, Olena (Horcajo) Alec leads Haleakalā Conservancy’s philanthropic efforts to provide funding for projects of critical importance to Haleakalā National Park and its unique and endangered resources. Born and raised here on Maui, Olena has spent most of her career away from the islands working within the environmental sector, utilizing education and effective communication to push for meaningful and measurable action. Olena comes to the Conservancy most recently from The Climate Reality Project, where she served as the director of engagement, overseeing the support, engagement, and strategy of tens of thousands of climate activists for seven years. Prior to Climate Reality, she worked in New York City connecting public school teachers and administrators to resources and partners to further their sustainability goals. She is a proud RPCV, having served in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, working with her community on issues of environmental education, conservation, and sustainability.
She sits on the board of Students for Climate Action, as it is an honor to work alongside and support student activists to further the conversation on climate change and inspire action. She holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelors of Environmental Studies from USC. It has been a lifelong goal to be back on Maui, contributing to the incredible community and landscape that is home, and you can often find her hiking through the park with her husband and daughter.
Melialani Hamilton, Program Coordinator (Kupu 'Āina Corps)
Melialani is ‘Ōiwi, born and raised on the mainland in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a BA in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and an MA in International Education & Globalisation at the University of Bath in England. There, she was a part of starting a decolonization working group of faculty and students in the Department of Education. She has volunteered with various education non-profits on the mainland.
Melialani is passionate about preserving the natural and cultural resources that exist in the Haleakalā National Park for conservation of ‘āina and justice for Native Hawaiians. Her research focused on restoring ‘ike Hawai’i for epistemic and environmental justice through aloha ‘āina and culturally sustaining pedagogy. Melialani hopes to help amplify Native Hawaiian voices in the park through her role at Haleakalā Conservancy.
John DeBlasio, Grant Writer
John DeBlasio has a long career in social services. He has worked for decades to increase the inclusion, in the mainstream of society, for young people with various disadvantages including intellectual, emotional, and economic issues. The process of modernizing services always
requires proposal writing, and requests for funding from government and private sources. In recent years the efforts have focused on finding resources for non-profit organizations, sometimes writing more than 20 grants in a single year.
The newest opportunity is the raising of funds to support environmental preservation by the Haleakalā National Park. Mitigation of Maui’s continuous loss of endemic species of plants and birds is one of most pressing current causes. It is worthy of every effort to finds resources for programs and environmental policies.